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On the corner of E. Market and Dudley Streets, a small crowd of about 20 people rallied to protest the murder of Jonathan Ferrell on Thursday. Ferrell was shot and killed by a Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer on Sept. 14.

For Jessie Barber, a participant in the rally, the death of Ferrell hit close to home.

On May 18, 2001, her 22-year-old son Gilbert was shot and killed by a Guilford County sheriff’s deputy in Jamestown, N.C. Just like Ferrell, Barber’s son got into a car accident in the early morning hours.

“When I heard about Mr. Ferrell it was like de ja’vu,” she said. “But it’s like de ja’vu every time they kill somebody, which is often. Way too often.”

 Barber said the neighbors heard noise from outside their houses and called the police. Less than two minutes later, after deputy Thomas Gordy arrived on the scene, her son was dead.

“It’s crazy how similar the case was to what has happened to Jon Ferrell,” said Scott Trent, organizer for the Stop Mass Incarceration Network (SMIN) of Greensboro. “We’re just trying to show some opposition to these kinds of murders and these kinds of killings.”

Nationally, The National Police Misconduct Statistics and Reporting Project (NPMSRP) Police Misconduct Statistical Report said there were 4,861 reported cases of misconduct by police officers in 2010. Of those, 23.8 percent of the misconduct reports were considered excessive force cases.

“Police brutality stops when we make it stop,” Trent said. He explained the purpose of SMIN is to protest against police brutality, race based mass incarceration and racial profiling.

NPMSRP also reported that there were 127 fatalities due to excessive force by cops in 2010. Of those deaths, 71 percent were caused by the use of a firearm.

“A lot of people don’t respond unless it happens to them, but people should be aware that at any moment it could happen to them because it’s an epidemic,” said Barber.

Oct. 22 is the National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality. Around the nation, people will protest against police brutality. SMIN will take part in the protest.

Since 1999, Trent has been heavily involved in protesting. He said ever since he was a young child growing up in Fuquay- Varina, N.C. he’s had an up close look at how poorly police treated people. He said he never wanted to be a part of that cycle.

The organization provides an outlet for people to speak up about police brutality. Trent said he wants to see the community come together and show opposition to what has been happening to African-Americans for a long time.

Since the Zimmerman trial, Trent feels that most people are “fed up” with police brutality.

“Police have to respond to a different feeling by the community,” Trent said. “I think that’s the only reason the officer that killed Ferrell got picked up.”

For more information about SMIN of Greensboro visit facebook.com/StopMassIncarcerationNC or call 336-638-1448.

ent feeling by the community,” Trent said. “I think that’s the only reason the officer that killed Ferrell got picked up.”

For Jessie Barber the death of Jonathan Ferrell hit close to home.

On May 18, 2001 her 22 year old son Gilbert was shot and killed by a Guilford county sheriff’s deputy on Kivet Drive in Jamestown North Carolina. Just like Ferrell, Barber’s son got into a car accident in the early morning hours.

Barber said the neighbors heard noise from outside their houses and called the cops. 113 seconds after deputy Thomas Gordy arrived on the scene her son was dead.

The pain Barber feels due to the loss of her son is never ending. A pain she does not wish even on the man that shot and killed her son. A pain she feels is renewed every time she hears that another life is taken.

Barber said when she heard of Ferrell it was like de ja’vu. Every day somebody dies and in her opinion it happens way too often.

“A lot of people don’t respond unless it happens to them, but people should be aware that at any moment it could happen to them because it’s an epidemic,” said Barber.

An epidemic Barber says does more than take the life of one person. It destroys families and communities as a whole.

Trent says the support they received by drivers was good. Now all they have to do is get more people activated and really start taking responsibility for stopping all this brutality.

October 22 is the National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality. Since 1996 the coalition has been working to expose the repression and criminalization of a generation.  Around the nation groups will be protesting the epidemic of police brutality.

SMIN will take part in the protest on Oct. 22.

For more information about SMIN of Greensboro look them up on at facebook.com/StopMassIncercerationNC or call 336-638-1448.

  • ZIRIS SAVAGE Register Reporter
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